Read verses 1-6
Q: What is the main theme of Judges which provides the overall context for each successive period of a judge’s rule?
A: Israel reached such a low point spiritually that God temporarily suspended working through the nation to instead work through chosen individuals.
When the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.
— Judges 2:18
Q: What is the history of the Midianites where Israel is concerned?
A: Although descended from Abraham through his second wife Keturah, when they are first encountered as a nation in the Exodus Narrative, they sheltered Moses from Pharaoh and Moses even married a Midianite, (Ex. 2:15-22) and initially brought the entire nation out to Midian. But once Israel departed from their lands in the Sinai, they came to be aligned with the Moabites against Israel. (Num. 22:7) They are willing agents of Balaam and his counsel for implementing the spiritual seduction of Israel (Num. 25 & 31), and we now find them aligned with the Amalekites and “the sons of the east” against Israel.
Point: Spiritual and even literal enemies often keep returning with different allies to attempt yet another attack.
Q: What has literally happened to Israel where the land is concerned?
A: First they were driven off from living on it, then they were denied a living from it.
Q: What was the ancillary effect on Israel’s food source? How did this have an impact on them spiritually?
A: By consuming all of the produce, it was not just denying the Israelites food, but food for their livestock as well. This had spiritual repercussions because livestock was not just a source of food, but essential for their religious practices.
Q: How is this framed in the text so as to sound like a familiar working of God?
A: Their coming into the land “like locusts” with the ensuing devastation replays the character of a plague effected by the hand of God.
Q: What might be revealing about the use of the phrase, “Israel was brought low” in v.6?
A: This is the condition which God previously warned would inevitably come upon Israel because of sin. This was one of the curses for disobedience.
“The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you will go down lower and lower
— Deuteronomy 28:43
Q: What might be lacking when it states, “the sons of Israel cried to the lord”?
A: Desperation, pain and frustration are present, but there is at most only a hint of actual repentance.
I will go away and return to My place
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.
— Hosea 5:15
Application: This is not purely a test of faith, but far more the consequences of sin.